Title: Sorry to Bother You
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Director: Boots Riley
Production Company: Significant Productions | MNM Creative | MACRO | Cinereach | The Space Program | Annapurna Pictures
Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is a young man, down on his luck, and going through an existential crisis when he starts a job at a telemarketing company. He learns that to make successful sales he has to use a “white voice” (ironically, his managers always talk in “Black voice” when pumping up the employees in meetings). Soon he’s promoted to the Power Caller department where he makes a fortune selling unethical products and services at the same time his friends and coworkers from the lower floors are organizing a strike. Underlying everything is the growth of a new company called WorryFree that provides cheap labor by signing people to lifetime contracts and housing them in factories (which opponents call slave labor).
The movie has a stellar cast supporting Stanfield. Tessa Thompson plays his girlfriend Detroit, who is a performance artist and underground activist. Steven Yuen is a labor organizer named Squeeze. And Omari Hardwick plays the mysterious Mr. _____, Cash’s Power Caller manager. Danny Glover and Forest Whitaker also appear in small roles, and Rosario Dawson performs a voice.
I was not prepared for this movie. I went in expecting a satirical comedy more than anything else but ended up feeling more disturbed than anything else. Granted, this movie is supposed to be disturbing, but I wasn’t expecting creepiness approaching Get Out levels. And that was before the scenes of full-on body horror! I also felt the movie had too many targets. While the satire of the corporate world and capitalist exploitation works, I felt the gags about online memes, reality tv, and performance art fell flat. Still this is a good first film for Boots Riley and I look forward to seeing what he’ll put out next. Oh and the music by Riley’s band The Coup and tUnE-yArDs is perfect for this movie.